Highway 16 Corridor Review and Upgrades On the Way
Prince George, B.C. – The stretch of Highway 16 from the intersection with Highway 97 to Bear/Kimball roads, has the highest traffic volume and highest number of crashes. That stretch of roadway is part of a review being undertaken by the Provincial Ministry of Transportation and the City of Prince George.
In the recently approved Capital Plan for the City of Prince George, $60 thousand dollars has been set aside in 2017 for the City’s portion of the safety review that will take place in conjunction with the Ministry of Transportation. A further $130 thousand dollars is set aside for new traffic lights at the Bear/Kimball Road intersection with Highway 16.
“The review is a result of that tragic accident that occurred at Highway 16 and Cowart Road last summer” says Mayor Lyn Hall. One young woman lost her life in that crash. The Ministry of Transportation responded by installing a dedicated left turn signal. ”So we’re taking a look now at what we need to do as a City to coordinate with the Province if they are looking at expansion or upgrades on Highway 16″ says Mayor Hall.
He says the review will examine the arterial roads that lead out of residential areas in the upper College Heights area and Westgate. “We’re also talking about the connector, that runs from the end of Ospika over on to Highway 16. Is there an option there? We are taking a look at everything to see what we can do about reducing congestion and making sure that if we do have an accident on Highway 16, that we have arterial routes to get out of the College Heights and Westgate area.”
The traffic signal project at Bear/ Kimball Roads and Highway 16 project was initiated by the MOTI, and they are moving ahead with design and construction in 2017. This project involves a new full movement set of traffic signals complete with pedestrian buttons and vehicle detection on Hwy 16 at Bear Road and Kimball Road.
Mayor Hall says when the MOTI indicated it was going to review the needs on Highway 16, he asked that “everything be thrown into the basket, let’s see what we can do to reduce accidents, reduce traffic, provide access out of the area if something should happen in 16.”
Mayor Hall says while the Ministry did provide a dedicated left turn signal at 16 and Cowart, further improvements can be made “Left turn lanes are important, the stand alone left turn signal is important at these intersections, I think the further we go up, there’s intersections we need to look at.” He says there will be new traffic control lights at Ferry and 16 , “so there is work we can do on almost every intersection.”
The capital plan also includes a contribution to the Ministry of Transportation’s installation of traffic signals at First and Queensway. That project is pegged at $130 thousand dollars.
In all three cases, the funds are coming from either Development cost charges, the General Infrastructure Investment Fund or a combination of both.